The road to Takeover: Philadelphia is becoming clearer with Johnny Gargano now established as Andrade Almas’ next challenger. Tonight, we will find out who will challenge for the tag team titles as Street Profits take on Authors of Pain with the winners to take on Undisputed Era at the next PPV. What further storyline development will we see in the women’s division? And what other action will take centre stage? Read on to find out!
Heavy Machinery v. Sabbatelli & Moss
Chants of “Steaks and Weights!” fill the arena as the match starts. Dozovic and Knight pop the crowd with their usual power moves, including Knight turning a facelock into a modified Cesaro Swing. The big guys pay homage to bygone tag teams, stealing a couple of moves from the Bushwackers’ playbook and even performing a version of Scotty Too Hotty’s Worm. Heavy Machinery dominate the majority of the match but get caught out when Moss rolls up Knight and gets his feet up on the top rope for the pin. Winners: Sabbatelli & Moss
Classic booking as the big babyfaces look strong but the heels win in controversial style. That gives plenty of impetus for a rematch without hurting either team much.
Roderick Strong v. Fabian Aichner
AN interesting match up as we have Roderick Strong, in need of a win to rebuild momentum following his recent track record of coming up short, against Fabian Aichner, who also needs a win to kickstart his NXT career. Aichner uses his strength and size advantage early on, but Strong as always keeps coming back and countering as the audience give him a “Let’s go!” chant. The match ends when Aichner goes for a top rope dive but gets caught into a backbreaker. He then taps out to The Stronghold. After the match, Strong gets on the mic to challenge Lars Sullivan to another match. Winner: Roderick Strong
Just what Roddy needed! This felt like a step back for Aichner though, who has looked impressive in his previous outings but did not get that much offence in here. Strong v. Sullivan should be an interesting match to see again, though I do not have much hope for Roddy’s chances…
Aliyah v. Lacey Evans
Two women’s division competitors we haven’t seen much lately with both no doubt looking to build momentum. Both ladies have their moments in control, but it is Evans who gets the win after suckering Aliyah into a huge knockout punch. Evans cuts a promo after the match saying she will clean up the trash in NXT, calling out Nikki Cross, Ember Moon, and Kairi Sane in the process. She bails as soon as Shayna Baszler appears. The former MMA star slaps the Kirifuda Clutch on the prone Aliyah. Ember Moon makes the save and dares Baszler to take her on. Shayna lays down the challenge for Takeover: Philadelphia. Winner: Lacey Evans
What was a standard segment turned into something superhot when Baszler appeared. She is doing single-handedly a better job of terrorising the roster than Absolution or the Riott Squad on RAW and Smackdown! The crowd went wild for the interactions between her and Moon, and the Takeover card now has a huge addition.
Video Packages & Promos
Undisputed Era speak about their upcoming Takeover matches. Adam Cole emphasises that he is not scared of Aleister Black nor the Extreme Rules stipulation for their clash. Fish and O’Reilly do not care who wins tonight’s number 1 contender’s match – they will take on and beat whoever.
We then see a hype video for Aleister Black. He says Adam Cole set off this chain of events and Adam Cole will regret it.
Quite a lengthy video hyping the return of the Aussie duo airs, covering their early career and their camaraderie. This has acrimonious team split written all over it!
In an interview, William Regal makes the Moon-Baszler Match official. Zelina Vega then appears and tries to persuade him to book a match for Johnny Gargano to put his title shot on the line against Velveteen Dream. That prompts Johnny Wrestling to cut a fiery promo in the ring accepting the match with Dream for next week’s show.
The Street Profits v. Authors of Pain
After months of squash matches and battles lower down the card, The Street Profits face their toughest test yet as they battle Authors of Pain for the right to face Undisputed Era at Takeover. AoP dominate early on, grinding down Ford until he out manoeuvres his bigger opponent to make the hot tag to Dawkins. The Street Profits have the upper hand briefly and net a near fall after a dropkick/spinebuster double-team move. AoP make quick work of them after that though, hitting The Collider on both opponents and the Last Chapter on Ford for the victory. Winners: Authors of Pain
The expected result but I was surprised to see Street Profits go down so quickly. The are early enough into their run and over enough with the fans that it shouldn’t hurt them in the long run. Undisputed Era v. Authors of Pain will be an intriguing match. Will raw power or heel chicanery win out?
A solid if not spectacular episode that did the job of setting up matches and angles ahead of Takeover. Both Baszler and Authors of Pain get title shots, and both have to be favourites based on the booking so far. It will take strong performances and/or some serious bending of the rules from their opponents to emerge with their titles intact. Gargano v. Dream adds an interesting wrinkle to proceedings and gives a good reason to tune in for more action. Make sure you join us for that!